A recent (2014) study published by Monika Krüger and colleagues in the Journal of Environmental & Analytical Toxicology revealed the presence
of glyphosate residues in grazing and foraging animals and in people, highlighting key problems associated with a herbicide that targets an entire kingdom of primary producers. Glyphosate residues were found in hares and rabbits, cattle, and humans, suggesting that the contaminant is migrating through food webs and jumping across trophic levels. This alarming news is only one of many reports that have emerged in recent years linking the pesticide once deemed safe to a global ecological crisis arguably more severe than Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring. Not surprisingly, both the DDT Rachel Carson wrote about in 1962, and the glyphosate entering our food- and watersheds today are legacies of the chemical giant, Monsanto.
In Krüger’s study, levels of glyphosate were higher in animals grazing on genetically modified forage pastures, presumably because these fields were more likely to be sprayed with the herbicide. The authors were a little vague in their description of the forage and diets of tested subjects. However, if you would like to see the study for yourself, you can access it here:Detection of Glyphosate Residues
Of perhaps greater interest that the presence of glyphosate in urine was the presence of higher glyphosate levels in humans eating conventional diets (as opposed to organic diets), and in humans who were chronically ill. This data begs the question, is the widespread use of glyphosate, a chemical known to cause loss of mitochondrial function and to increase oxidative stress in liver and brain tissue, contributing the the rise in chronic disease? It also points to potential for physical health benefits associated with choosing organic diets.
Certainly, the powers that be will debate these results ad nauseum. There are enormous financial interests supporting the continued use of glyphosate. Other interests strongly support the need to fund more research. But the growing number of correlations between glyphosate use and declining human and ecosystem health (see this Independent Scientists Manifesto on Glyphosate, and the references cited therein) suggest that the wise and prudent citizens will not wait for politicians to change policies. Rather, they will act now to reduce potential for themselves and their loved ones to be exposed to glyphosate.
If you are among those ready to take action, here are some steps you can take to reduce your exposure to glyphosate.
- Select food carefully, buying minimally processed foods from growers you are confident have not sprayed their crops with glyphosate.
- Avoid processed foods that are not certified organic, including foods made with crops that are available in RoundUp Ready® formats. These may include soy, corn, canola, alfalfa, cotton, and sugar (sugar beets).
- Plant Victory Gardens. Grow as much of your own food safely at home as possible.
- Share information like the Independent Scientists Manifesto on Glyphosate with neighbors and local policy makers, ask them to eliminate the use of glyphosate in private residences, local parks, schools, and public areas.
- Implement dietary strategies to promote detox. Foods and supplements that can activate Nrf2 biochemical pathways may be particularly helpful. These biochemical pathways combat oxidative stress, a factor associated with disease, which may be increased by exposure to glyphosate. Nrf2 activation also facilitates cellular detox by activating enzymes like glutathione synthase, which aid the body in detoxification.